Alumni Spotlight: Sarah Espinosa
When did you graduate from ILR and where did your career take you?
I received my undergraduate degree from the ILR School in 1995. After ILR, I went to law school and graduated from the University of Connecticut School of Law. I then worked in a variety of roles in public sector labor relations (Union-side negotiator and arbitration advocate, mediator with the Connecticut State Board of Mediation and Arbitration, assistant general counsel for the Connecticut Board of Labor Relations, chief negotiator and manager overseeing the labor relations program for Montgomery County, Maryland, and chief negotiator and VP of HR at Montgomery College).
When did you become involved in the Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution and what impact did Scheinman have on your career?
In October 2011, I began the Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution’s Labor Arbitrator Development Program. This was a two-year cohort program designed to help advocates transition into a career as a labor arbitrator. The program included course work and required shadowing established arbitrators. I met my mentor when I shadowed him for the program, and his impact on my development as an arbitrator has been immeasurable. I also met colleagues and friends in the cohort. In August 2013, I left my advocacy role to become a full-time conflict resolution professional. I am a labor arbitrator, mediator, and organizational ombuds, and have the privilege of assisting parties in the resolution of workplace and regulatory conflict. ILR and the Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution helped me build my path from advocacy to neutrality. I’m currently a contributing educator with the Scheinman Institute, teaching professional development classes in Ethics in Mediation & Arbitration and co-teaching Employment Law Mediator Training.
What is your most notable career achievement to date?
My most notable career achievement to date is that I was admitted to the National Academy of Arbitrators.
What advice would you give to current students?
I would advise current Scheinman students to take advantage of every opportunity to grow as a conflict resolver, and, in labor relations (and maybe all things), no matter the issue, always treat the people and the process with respect.